Speak to any entrepreneur, a successful entrepreneur, an unsuccessful entrepreneur or a wannabe entrepreneur and they will admit to one thing, they are big dreamers. In fact most of them spend more time dreaming than doing something about those dreams and thoughts. One of the reason is that quite often the entrepreneur is way ahead of himself and its often found that its hard for him to physically keep up with everything he is thinking. Dreams are a state of mind and for an entrepreneur the mind works like a machine, a business development machine, a marketing machine, an accounting machine or quite often a tax evasion machine. The point I am trying to make is when an individual has an overwhelming desire to achieve a perceived level of greatness in their chosen field of work, all his/her thoughts and dreams start to revolve around that field and some of its characteristics and this process is almost relentless. These dreams are often unrealistic and full of fictional characters.
Anyway, back to the dream. So these two men walk in buy a green coffee each and start talking about their respective office buildings and how green they were. I started eavesdropping as soon as I heard the word green. I noted both their buildings had some excellent environmentally responsible features and they had done everything possible to ensure their office buildings have minimal impact on the environment.
Going by their conversation, there was nothing I could pick on to conclude one building was greener than the other until they started talking about their HVAC (Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning) systems. There was no mention of their names in my dream so I am just going to call them Green man 1 and Green man 2.
Green man 1: I have a state of the art VAV (Variable Air Volume) air cooled system with a SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating of 15. My building is also mechanically ventilated and each zone has its own temperature control.
Green Man 2: I do not have a HVAC system. My building is naturally ventilated enabling it to use 25% less energy than yours. My building is GREENER.
Green man 1: This does not make sense! what about employee comfort? How do they work in peak summers and peak winters?
Green Man 2: My employees really care for the environment. They sweat it out in the summer and wear warm clothes in the winter. My building is the GREENEST!
Green Man 1: No!! My Building is GREENER!
The next thing I know, a massive argument breaks out between the two and soon there is a fist fight. They started kicking and punching. They threw their green mugs at each other spilling the green coffee all over the floor. I had to intervene, I asked them to stop, I pushed away Green man 1 and turned around only to find a massive green alien hand planted on my nose. The Green Man 2 punched me so hard that I woke up only to realise it was all a dream.
The dream aside, lets put the argument into perspective. Many of you might think the Green Man 2 building is more environmentally friendly, if you are one of them, you are absolutely correct. The Green Man 2 building saves all the energy needed to condition the occupied spaces which can range anywhere between 25% - 45% of the buildings energy load. In no scenario is the Green Man 1 building going to consume less energy than Green Man 2 building. Hence, the Green Man 2 building has a smaller carbon footprint and it has a lesser impact on the environment.
Having said that, in spite of the Green Man 2 building being more environmentally friendly it is the Green Man 1 building that is actually GREEN. A green building is one which reduces energy consumption and causes minimal damage to natural systems without sacrificing the human comfort levels. Any green building designer will tell you that the primary purpose of a green building is to provide a comfortable, healthy and a productive environment for its occupants. All the other eco-friendly features are only meant contribute towards this primary purpose along with achieving the broader goal called sustainability. There are very few places on earth where ideal thermal comfort can be maintained using natural means throughout the year. A building that saves energy at the cost of human comfort and productivity is not GREEN just as a building that provides a great work environment at the cost of energy efficiency.
The bottom line is: Environmentally friendly is not necessarily the same as GREEN and GREEN is not the only option to save the environment. But it is the only option that takes account of all the stakeholders' interests. The whole point of this upcoming Green Revolution is not go back and start living like the way we did in the 1800s but it is to improve the living standards of people, only this time we have to do it more smartly. So if tomorrow your friend comes to you and says that he cares too much for the environment and he is going to do his bit by turning into a nomad and starting to live in the caves on the Himalayas, you need to tell him that he is not going GREEN but he is actually going MAD.
Article by: Yusuf Turab
Y T Enterprises